Banners with ‘Jokowi same as PKI’ and ‘Prabowo for a strong president’ appear in Jakarta

CNN Indonesia – December 7, 2018
Anti-Widodo banner in Tanah Abang Central Jakarta (Istimewa)
Anti-Widodo banner in Tanah Abang Central Jakarta (Istimewa)

Jakarta – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has spoken out about banners which have appeared with the writing #JokowiBersamaPKI (#JokowiSameAsPKI – Jokowi is the same as the Indonesian Communist Party, PKI). The white banners smacking of slander have been put up around the Kebon Kacang area of Tanah Abang in Central Jakarta.

“Much has been conveyed about the issue of President Jokowi being PKI. And even of late there have been many banners like that. For four years I’ve been patient, patient, patient”, said Widodo at Bumi Perkemahan Ragunan on Friday December 7.

The banners were put up on Tuesday December 4. On the banners was written: #PKI Disguised As Pancasila (#PKIBerkedokPancasila), #JKW Same As PKI (#JKWBersamaPKI), #JKW National Hoaxer (#JKWHoaksNasional), #JKW National Idiot (#JKWSontoloyoNasional), #JKW National Monster (#JKWGenderuwoNasional) and “Sink the PKI in 2019” (2019 Tenggelamkan PKI) referring to the 2019 presidential election.

In addition to this, also appearing on the banners are the words “Prabowo-Sandi for a Strong Indonesian President”. Photographs of presidential hopeful Prabowo Subianto and his vice-presidential running mate Sandiaga Uno are displayed on the right with the election ticket number 02 and the symbols of the political parties backing Prabowo in the presidential election.

Widodo claimed that up until now he has been silent but the issue has continued to circulate. Yet on numerous occasions of late he has clarified the issue but the banners were still put up over the last few days.

The former Solo City mayor asserted that he was only born in 1961 and the PKI was dissolved in 1965. He also clarified the issue of photographs of a person resembling him alongside PKI leader DN Aidit when he was giving a speech in 1955.

Widodo is of the view that these issues must be straightened out because based on a survey around 9 million Indonesian still believe it to be true.

“Is there such a thing as a PKI infant? This kind of politicking must stop. It destroys our attempts to build democracy and develop the life of the nation and state”, he said.

Earlier the Jakarta Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) said it was still pursuing the people who put up the banners. Bawaslu Jakarta commissioner Puadi said that the content of the banners are provocative and divisive as regulated under Article 280 and Article 1(d) of Law Number 7/2017 on General Elections.

The time limit for investigating the banners is seven days or next Tuesday December 11. If sufficient evidence is not found in this time Bawaslu will not continue the investigation. (chri/osc)


Widodo himself is partly to blame for the persistence of these kinds of black campaigns. Instead of publically stating what according to surveys most people already believe – that the PKI was obliterated by Suharto and the military in 1965 and there is no indication that it has or is being revived – Widodo has instead helped maintain what some have called the “biggest hoax of all” by calling on the TNI (Indonesian military) to “clobber the PKI” if it resurfaces, warning the public about the threat of communist ideologies and taking part in TNI organised public screenings of the Suharto era propaganda film The Betrayal of the September 30 Movement/PKI, a dramatisation of the New Order’s version of the events surrounding the alleged communist coup in 1965.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Jokowi soal Spanduk #JokowiBersamaPKI: Sabar, Sabar, Sabar”.]